Sunday 25 May 2014

Day 22 : Those Incas

So far we haven't heard all that much about the Incas but in Salta (north west Argentina) we're starting to come into contact with their antics.  The High Mountain Archaeology Museum was an excellent place to start.

Those of you who are mountain types might have been interested in the Inca mountaineering boots on display.  No Scarpa Mantas for those Incas, I'm afraid, or La Sportiva Nepal Extremes.  No, eight layers of wool sewn together made up the mountain footwear of choice in the Inca Empire.

And what did they do when they made it to the top?  Well, nothing as innocent as eating a Snickers bar, which is mine and Guy's activity of choice on the mountains.

The museum houses three incredibly well-preserved bodies of children who were thought to have been given a glug of booze and then buried alive in a sacrificial ceremony at the top of Llullaillaco Volcano in the days of the Inca Empire.  We saw the body of the seven-year old boy, completely intact, looking as though he could still have been alive yesterday.  It was actually quite overwhelming.

We haven't made it up any mountains with Inca ruins yet, as our Del Plomo expedition didn't work out, but the children's remains were found at 6,700m.  Sounds a bit high to me; I think I'll leave it to those Incas with their woollen boots.

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